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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

My first week on Citalopram

After New Year I decided that I had to start taking the antidepressants that my Doctor had prescribed to me at the start of December. For lots of reasons I had tried to not take them, even as someone who would recommend to others that they should take the help that is available to them. Including recognising the importance of treating the brain in the same way as other body parts, when there is a problem or an injury we treat it sometimes that is rest sometimes that's medication or a form of therapy. The brain should be is no different. I struggled with taking the meds because Ive always tried to be happy with who I am. Whether I'm going through bad or good points they all make up..... me. Overcoming those bad times, is part of life we all experience them. I believe that overcoming them is part of what makes us us, and what makes us strong. I felt that in taking the meds I was saying I can not cope with life, I'm not happy with who I am, I have failed. On top of that I did not want to become reliant on medication, and realised that once I started taking the citalopram I would have to keep taking it for at least 3 - 6 months. These are the main reasons I hadn't been taking the medication before New Year, I managed to keep going day to day. Some where fine, others where clearly not. But I didn't want to take the support that was there. Slowly I did start to talk to a few more people about my depression and about the medication. To my surprise I know a few people who have taken or are taking either the same or something similar. This made a big difference to me. Knowing that not just other people do take this, but people I know, people I trust, people that I can see have benefited from taking the medication. So after New Year I decided that I needed to start taking the citalopram. Which I have now been taking for just over one week. So I thought this would be a good time to recap what that has been like. At this stage I should say I have decided to take my meds at night just before bed, and I am taking one 20mg per day. I would say the first 3 days my sleep was very disrupted and my dreams where dark. The first two nights this woke me mid way through in quite a bit of shock. Since then my sleep has levelled out, I am just up once or twice a night now. This is a little less than before I was taking the citalopram. Day 2 to 6 the skin on my face was very flakey, even with dry skin moisturiser on. This too seems to have settled after the first week. Every day I have felt quite sick in the morning, while this has gradually got less as the days have passed it is still present (every day). The feeling usually lasts around one to two hours. Another thing I have noticed is that I really struggle to get out of bed in the morning, it can take over an hour! This is really not great for me, as a morning person it adds even more disappointment and depression at my struggle. I am hoping this is something that as the meds start to take affect (it takes around two weeks for them to kick in) I will find easier. I also found the first couple of days back at work tricky with the beautiful eye I had, after some self injury at New Year, gaining some unwanted attention. While this did lead to some questions, my quick, direct, short and obvious redirect of the conversation meant that I didn't get asked about this after Tuesday by anyone. At the end of my first week I had a friends 30th Birthday party, something that until New Year I had been looking forward to. Since then it has filled me with fear as I worry about what happens if this happens again. I tried not to think about it, hoping this would lessen the anxiety I was feeling. Even on the morning of the party I was still looking forward to it, trying not to over think. By the afternoon I was thinking about not attending, I could go to bed, I was tired, I could do other things (not sure what they were this over thinking, anxiety and depression is exhausting). I decided I wanted to go, I wasn't going to let my friend down. I would go. The evening as a whole was lovely, I got to chat with old school friends, listen to good music and enjoy a little party food. I even managed to talk a bit about whats been going on with a couple of friends. However...I still had, I don't know something. It breaks me to know that I'm like this. So, I started to feel an internal struggle. I tried to just rest my head and focus on my breathing, but I soon lost the ability to move my head or react to anyone. I was losing myself in myself. It is so hard to explain. I don't know how long this was maybe 10 minutes? Maybe 5, maybe 20? I could feel the tears coming and I was doing all I could to keep my arms still. At some stage Sarah asked me if I wanted to go outside. Somehow I managed to pick myself up and amble to the door. Once outside I broke down the steady flow of tears started. Sarah hugged me and took me for a walk. I couldn't believe I was hear again. Yes it wasn't anything like last time, but still, I had not drunk any alcohol and was having a nice time, I felt I had got passed the anxiety of getting through the evening. As we walked I started to get angry at myself, then disappointed that I was here again. It was all I could do to stop me hitting myself. I didn't feel any victory in stopping this, just disappointment that this is where I am in my life. 'What was your achievement today? Well I just about managed to stop me hitting myself'. Great. We walked around and we talked about some of the things that have been going on. I really do appreciate the amazing friends I have around me. After a couple of cries and hugs, we returned to the party. I was determined to stay until the end, I wouldn't let the depression ruin the night for me. As I said on the whole I choose to remember the night as lovely, but it was a challenge. Well, that was my first week and a bit of citalopram. Fare to say its been a bit messy, but its a journey.

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